Facebook Steps Up Mobile Ad Activity After Twitters MoPub Buyout

With Twitters recent acquisition of MoPub and the inevitablity of an IPO for in-app display giants Flurry, Facebook is clearly keen to remind everyone that it is a serious player in the mobile display space, and has made a number of moves in the last week to demonstrate just that.

A spokesperson has confirmed to Mobile Marketing that after an initial test nine months ago, the social network is now re-opening trials of its third-party ad exchange on mobile. Should all go to plan, and assuming they can keep privacy intact, advertisers will be able to buy third-party mobile inventory from Facebook using the profiles of its users to target their placements. Facebook told us that its second test would aim to increase the relevancy of these ads but couldn’t give any more detail.

The Wall Street Journal meanwhile reports that Facebook has started sharing weekly second screen reports with the four largest US TV networks – ABC, NBC, Fox and CBS – as well as a number of smaller partners. The data potentially contains unparalled audience demographics, paired with how many likes, comments and shares are generated during a television episode. This is in a bid to demonstrate itself as the “the go-to hub for real-time events” and reap ad dollars in return.

Facebook has also outlined changes it is making to its ads algorithm that means ‘some marketers may see some variation in the distribution of their ads in the coming weeks’. More emphasis will be placed on the relevance and quality of ads, with particular attention paid to ads that are hidden or reported by users for being unsuitable.

In terms of usage, Facebook on mobile is flying, reporting in July that its mobile-only audience had reached 219m, representing 20 per cent of monthly users and more than Twitter has across all platforms in total. But that is coming at some expense to its growth in desktop users, which means effort, and ad dollars must move accordingly.

Responding to these varied announcement, Andrew French, global trading director at Somo, said: “When third-parties like Twitter make aggressive moves into the mobile space, it is likely that Facebook will try and stay ahead of the curve with new ideas and innovation.

“Advertising that is more targeted and more relevant is a good thing for the industry, but the complexity with the third-party exchange comes around data, data privacy and how you actually make something like this happen. As the Facebook ecosystem matures, you would expect them to move to a targeting model that enables them to drive a higher price per impression.”